BENGALURU: With a footfall of more than 2 lakh passengers per day, the City Railway Station is one of the busiest stations in the country, but Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has failed to milk the opportunity.
With pre-paid auto and taxi counters available, most passengers are reluctant to make the half-km trudge to the BMTC bus terminus. In 2010, BMTC had introduced a free mini bus service with a 30-passenger seating capacity along with a provision for luggage carriers to ferry people between the City Railway Station and Kempegowda bus station.
However, the service has lost patronage because of poor awareness and stiff resistance from taxi and auto drivers at the City Railway Station fearing their business would be affected.
Similarly, a free mini bus service was initiated between Yeshwantpur Railway Station and Yeshwantpur bus stand but was later discontinued. The BMTC also planned a similar service between Shivajinagar bus stand and Cantonment Railway Station but it didn’t take off.
“It’s difficult to walk with luggage from the railway station through the stinky subway to reach Kempegowda bus station to catch a bus. Most auto drivers refuse to ply from the railway station to bus stand since it is short distance. So, I always take a cab. BMTC should be allowed to operate at railway stations like in the airport,” said K Sathish, a regular passenger between Bengaluru and Chennai.
BMTC officials said they operated two mini buses between 4am and 11pm at the City Railway Station but response from commuters was poor. “We are now exploring various options to attract more passengers from railway stations. South Western Railway should provide parking space as well as a separate lane for buses,” said a senior BMTC official.
“The free mini bus service from the railway station to bus stand was a good idea but it has failed because of the poor publicity. Most passengers were unaware about such a facility. BMTC should re-launch the facility for the benefit of commuters, particularly senior citizens, differently abled people and passengers carrying heavy luggage. Passengers who are travelling long routes may not be able to afford taxi fares,” said K Shekar, a commuter at the City Railway Station.
"Every day, more than 2 lakh passengers come to the station in individual vehicles so allowing buses inside the station will increase chaos. We will look into it if BMTC comes forward with a proposal. But we cannot allow all buses in the station because of space shortage" said R S Saxena, Bengaluru Divisional Railway Manager, SWR.